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What did your stay at Messen mean for your artistic work?

I arrived in the spring of 2013, and had a very focused and productive time at Kunstnarhuset Messen. I worked all night, almost every night. There, I finished editing the text for the ‘Book of Nineteen Nocturnes,’ and made innumerable inky drawings inspired by the surrounding landscapes of Ålvik. (There is a mountain that stood out my bedroom window – on my first night I kept watching it, and felt like it was watching me too – watching me like a wall – so I painted it.)

What were the results? 

Drawings and ink-paintings from Messen have since been exhibited at galleries in Montréal, Los Angeles, and Finland. I am still making drawings for the ‘Book of Nineteen Nocturnes,’ which will be recorded as an audio-book this winter (2014/2015), and translated into French. With luck it will be published in English and French soon after.

What, if it did, did your stay mean for you in your artistic work and development?

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Drawing workshop at Messen with a schoolclass

I absolutely needed somewhere that I could completely immerse myself in my work.
Hardanger air is quiet and tastes like oxygen.

What did your stay do for your knowledge of Hardanger and Norway?
Now I know the fjord is nearly a kilometer deep. I swam in there, and can say that it is even colder than off Vancouver Island. Now I can identify multiple heads and elbows attempting to push out the mountaintops. If you go hiking, keep your eyes peeled for changing weather conditions, and ears open for snowmelt. Next time I’m bringing my skateboard.

How has the stay influenced your contact with other artists?
I made some wonderful new friends with artists from both Norway and the Netherlands, and we’ve been in touch ever since. Notably, in 2013, along with Rosé de Beer and Sjaak Langenberg, I participated in the exhibition Ja Natuurlijk (Yes, Naturally), at the GEM Museum for Contemporary Art in The Hague.


Jim Holyoak (Canada) stayed for 3 months in Messen in 2013

Drawing workshop at Kunstnarhuset Messen, Ålvik, Norway